Robin Williams, who starred in many formative movies of my childhood and released comedy that had my high-school friends and I in stitches, took his own life this week. He’d struggled with alcohol and drug addition, and severe depression, and in the end decided to end it.
I don’t get it, and that’s why it’s scary.
I mean, intellectually I get it. I can see the reasoning. Though I don’t personally suffer from depression, I know people who do and have seen its effects. I’m told and have witnessed how the world seems to turn gray and the usual pleasures seem empty and how although you know at the back of your mind that you’re loved, you don’t see it. It sounds like you’re not sad—you just don’t care. You don’t feel anything, so in the end, taking that final step seems like it might make you feel something. It’s actually a quite logical line of thinking to an outsider, so in that sense I understand it.
But I don’t “get” it.
I doubt I ever will. It’s one of those experiential things that if it hasn’t happened to you, the closest you can get it second-hand relation.
Because it’s an illness of the mind, and when the thing that normally diagnoses problems is the thing with the problem, it can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. The mind can’t ever be truly outside itself, so can’t see it’s whole self. The best you can do is seek the help of another mind, but even that’s an imperfect solution made harder by social and internal obstacles.
So we end up with wealthy, successful, brilliant Robin Williams, who apparently had everything but a way out.
At least, that’s how it seems to me. I’m probably wrong.